August 24, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Storm Runoff Correctly Classified as Designated Ground Water

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in In the Matter of Water Rights as Applied for by Meridian Service Metropolitan District: Meridian Service Metropolitan District v. Ground Water Commission on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Subject Matter Jurisdiction—Designated Ground Water—Claim Preclusion.

Meridian Service Metropolitan District (Meridian) principally asked the Supreme Court to decide whether storm runoff may be classified as “designated ground water” subject to administration and adjudication by the Colorado Ground Water Commission (Commission), or whether such water is in or tributary to a natural stream, vesting jurisdiction in the local water court pursuant to the Water Right Determination and Administration Act of 1969, CRS §§ 37-92-101 to -602. Meridian also made claim preclusion and public policy arguments and asserted that the Colorado Groundwater Management Act, CRS §§ 37-90-101 to -143, is unconstitutional. The Court concluded that because this case presented a question as to whether the water at issue met the statutory definition of “designated ground water,” the Commission had jurisdiction to make the initial determination of the issue presented. The Court further held that the Commission, and the district court on de novo review, correctly found that a portion of the water at issue met the statutory definition of “designated ground water” and was therefore subject to administration by the Commission. The Court concluded that Meridian’s remaining arguments were not supported by the record or applicable law. The district court’s order was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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